Book it: A guide to Evanston’s best bookstores

Books line the shelves of the store called Bookends and Beginnings

Books line the shelves of the store Bookends and Beginnings. Photo by Yalda Khodadad

Although journalism is most cherubs’ first love, many share another: books. As their first chapter at cherubs began, some turned to local Evanston bookstores and libraries to satisfy their literary cravings.

Bookends & Beginnings: Hidden in an alleyway off Sherman Avenue, Bookends & Beginnings is a cherub favorite filled with local flavor. Colorful books on everything from the history of Evanston to cookbooks to fiction line the shelves of the wooden bookcases. Handwritten staff recommendations peek out from beneath the stacks. Owned by former cherub instructor Nina Barrett, the store doesn’t just sell books. Shoppers can also find jewelry, pins, cards and other small trinkets. Sydney Bergan of Andover, Massachusetts, stumbled across the bookstore while wandering through Evanston with her parents and decided to pop in with her friends from cherubs a few days later. “I love how it’s so old-fashioned with its hardwood floors and bookshelves and nice bookstore smell,” Bergan said. “Everyone there is so nice and willing to help out, and they have a lot of options.”

Market Fresh Books: Market Fresh Books is not your typical bookstore. Selling its books “deli-style,” the store weighs gently used books to determine the price. At only $6.99 per pound, it’s affordable for many cherubs. “It’s really cheap and amazing for someone who is interested in getting an older copy of a book,” said Halsey Smith of Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I bought my copy of ‘The Great Gatsby’ with writing in it, which I think is really cool and different because you get to have an instant connection with someone who read the book way before you.” The store is “definitely a staple in the Evanston community,” she said.

Barnes & Noble: Selling a variety of books, DVDs, magazines, games, lamps, candles, water bottles and much more, Barnes & Noble is a one-stop-shop for many cherub needs. Sadie Schwartz of New York City said Barnes & Noble was the first place that popped into her mind after realizing she wanted to add more books to her collection. “There was a very large selection, which was so nice,” Schwartz said. “It really motivated me to read the classics that everyone should read in their lifetime.”

Northwestern libraries: Cherubs cozied up in the lounge chairs of both Deering Library and University Library this summer, scouring through endless rows of novels and research books. These libraries provided a quiet place for many to meet looming deadlines on articles and summer assignments. “It feels historic,” said Liv Jenks of San Francisco. “You walk in and you know that this has been there for a while, and you feel very cool and very collegiate. There’s always something to be discovered.”

Evanston Public Library: With three floors filled with a variety of books, the Evanston Public Library has it all: nonfiction, parenting, politics and more. Librarians are always on call for recommendations. Lights hang low over the wooden tables between the stacks, where both locals and cherubs can be found working. “It has a very nice environment and is a good place to sit down and read,” said Noah Somphone of Fullerton, California, who stumbled upon the library while looking for sources. “It’s the epitome of what a library should be.”